The ultimate family adventure awaits you in Africa. Away from gadgets and other modern distractions, free from the city's air, noise and light pollution, prepare to enter a wonderland full of nature, wildlife and African hospitality. There is no better family bonding experience out there and parents who have been to Africa with their children agree that a week on safari equals a year or two in the classroom.
The circle of life. It doesn’t matter how many National Geographic documentaries you and your children binge on before your first family safari, nothing will prepare you for your first elephant, lion or giraffe sighting in the wild. A safari around Africa might not be the vacation that comes to mind when travelling with young children, but there is no better holiday out there that exposes your little ones to the wonders of nature - its incredible wildlife, birdlife and plantlife. A safari is both entertaining and highly educational for every member of the family.
Where to start?
Planning an epic safari of a lifetime is on a lot of people’s bucket lists. With the amount of logistics involved, it can be quite a massive and complex project to tackle. Not to mention the added stress of considering each family member’s needs like grandma’s fitness levels and your toddler’s food preferences. Moreover, not all destinations and safari lodges in Africa are child and family friendly. Where do you even start?
This is where we come in, and your A2A safari specialist will ensure that the best experience available is offered to you, completely tailored to fit the needs of each and every member of your family. Our deep experience of meticulously planning thousands of family safaris for two decades - from couples travelling with their firstborn for the first time to multigenerational clans - we take great care in ensuring that all members of the family will have a memorable time (as long as they are old enough to remember!).
It's never too early to go on safari
A question we get asked very often is, ‘What’s the best age to take my child on safari?’. There is in fact no upper or lower age limit and below is our general recommendation on where to take children depending on their age range:
0 – 7 years:Families travelling with babies and toddlers are best suited to malaria-free game reserves within easily accessible areas for seamless travel. Most safari lodges will require that a private safari vehicle and guide be booked to accommodate young kids on regular game drives. We would highly suggest this anyway as it will enhance your experience and give you full flexibility over your safari schedule.
8 – 12 years:
Children at this impressionable age will enjoy and appreciate the thrill of learning about nature and wildlife deeper through highly educational Junior Ranger programmes. Choosing a safari lodge or camp that offers this is key. Learning animal tracks, making objects from scratch and experiencing cultural interactions leave a deep impact on kids that they will carry with them for life.
13 – 18 years:For this age range, it is a good idea to choose a destination and lodge that offers a wide variety of physical activities like walking, canoeing, boating, horseback riding, and quad biking, on top of safari game drives. As kids this age seem to be glued to their gadgets, perhaps visiting a more remote safari destination without access to internet connection and cellphone reception will teach them the value of disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with nature.
A quick destination guide
Choosing the right destination is key to a successful family trip as not all African countries offer the same safari experience. A2A's safari specialists are well-equipped with unbiased and firsthand knowledge to advise you on where to go based on your situation and wish lists. Below is a quick snapshot with some highlights of our favourite family safari destinations:
South AfricaSouth Africa is hands down the best option for a family with both young and older children as it offers a wide range of activities to appeal to different interests, attention spans and energy levels. From an action-packed Big Five safari in a malaria-free game reserve to a food and wine oriented private tour in vibrant Cape Town and the quaint Cape Winelands (do not worry, the little ones are served grape juice while the adults imbibe in fantastic local wines), your family is certain to have a well-balanced experience of wildlife, city, food, wine, history, culture and shopping. This is also the ideal destination if you are not particularly keen to travel on small planes as all the major safari areas are accessible via commercial airlines or by road.
KenyaFor those who are looking for a wilder experience with views reminiscent of ‘Lion King’, featuring sweeping wide-open savannahs as far as the eye can see, Kenya is a fantastic choice. Activities such as horse and camel riding, authentic cultural encounters with fascinating and colourful local tribes and floating in a hot air balloon over stunning landscapes will certainly fill your family photo album with unique and magical memories. The Masai Mara is also home to the wildebeest migration from around August to October, a phenomenon often referred to as ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. Tag on an extension in neighbouring Tanzania to maximise your chances of seeing the mega herds as they cross over into the vast Serengeti plains.
BotswanaConsidered one of the finest and most pristine safari destinations in Africa, wildlife outnumbers the local human population in the country that follows a strict low impact tourism model. This makes it perfect for families looking to splurge on exclusivity, to enjoy game drives in vast, empty reserves whilst staying in luxurious and intimate camps within private concessions. Canoeing in a traditional dugout canoe or cruising on a motorised boat along the Okavango Delta are classic activities, although generally restricted to teenagers and older for safety reasons. To take your experience up a notch, a safari along the vast Makgadikgadi salt pans will get you up close and personal to the mythical San Bushmen and adorable habituated meerkats.
Zambia and Zimbabwe
Zam and Zim are perfect for the thrill-seeking family that’s ready for an off-the-grid and high octane deep bush adventure. Start in Victoria Falls to witness its majesty, a natural wonder of the world and the undisputed adventure capital of Africa. Proceed to go on safari in some of the most pristine and remote wilderness areas known for heart-stopping walking safaris and canoe safaris on the mighty Zambezi River, fishing, and raw wildlife viewing including huge herds of elephants, some of them having the unique ability to stand up on their hind legs to reach the high up branches of trees for food!
The best malaria-free reserves
South Africa is home to several fantastic wilderness areas that are malaria-free where you don’t have to compromise the quality of your safari for peace of mind. Madikwe Game Reserve and Tswalu Kalahari Reserve are two of our favourite private game reserves in South Africa. Visit one or both for a truly unique experience boasting of contrasting landscapes and wildlife.
Madikwe is the fifth largest game reserve in South Africa, easily accessible from Johannesburg via road or a short light aircraft flight. Home to the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog and numerous plains game, it also boasts of an excellent line-up of luxurious and family-friendly accommodations with stunning bush vistas.
Made famous by the show ‘Meerkat Manor’, Tswalu Kalahari is the largest privately-owned game reserve in South Africa. Hanging out with these cute creatures is one of the highlights of a safari here. Its remote location in a massive area of over 111,000 hectares makes it one of the most exclusive lodges in South Africa perfectly suited for families looking for utmost privacy.
Handpicking your accommodations
The types of accommodation in your itinerary will have a huge impact on your experience which is why we do not take this detail lightly. In general, the collection of properties that we send our clients to are of intimate size where more personal attention and flexibility are given to guests. We get to know you and your family’s dynamics to ensure that your lodge has the correct bedding configuration, rooming assignment and other important amenities. We prioritise booking interleading or family rooms for families with young kids. If you are travelling in a larger group, we suggest exclusive, sole-use properties for maximum exclusivity and a real home-away-from-home experience.
Feel free to visit our Accommodation
page to see which safari lodges and camps suit your style. And for the ultimate social distancing safari, our portfolio of exclusive-use Villas
are the some of the best locations to shelter in place.
We specialise in arranging bespoke and complex multigenerational safaris involving grandparents, parents, siblings and grandchildren of all ages. We would love to help you plan that once-in-a-lifetime safari for you and your family.